Tonight the Olympic Stadium sees its second Opening Ceremony as Paralympics 2012 launches. After Team GB’s medal success in Beijing, finishing 2nd in the table behind China, there are even higher hopes for London 2012 thanks to the atmosphere of the home advantage. Not only is there a record number of countries competing in the games this year (19 more than in Beijing), there will also be 1513 female athletes taking park on the world stage. Due to our huge Team GB bias, here’s two more British athletes we hope to see stealing headlines at these games:
100m Freestyle S6 / 400m Freestyle S6 / 200m SM6 Individual Medley / 50m Freestyle S6
Its easy to forget that Ellie Simmonds is only 17 years old. After being one of the undoubted stars of the 2008 Games with two gold medals at the tender age of 13 as well as being the youngest ever recipient of an MBE, Ellie Simmonds enters London 2012 in the curious position of being a teenage old veteran.
Born with achondroplasia, Simmonds began swimming at an early age and began elite training after watching the 2004 Paralympic Games, subsequently qualifying for the Beijing team and securing gold medals in 100m S6 and 400m S6 freestyle disciplines. At this year’s British championships, Simmonds delivered 2 golds, one silver and one fourth placed finish and goes into Lonon 2012 as a clear favourite – both on form and sentiment.
R2 10m Air Rifle
London 2012 Di Coates will be representing Team GB in her 8th Games and with a collection of 8 medals under her belt, including three golds, she’s aiming to increase that tally and win gold on home turf.
Being born with spina bifida, Coates first took part in the Paralympics in the 1984 Games in Stoke Mandeville and picked up her golds during Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. Training in Hampshire at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Coates has lived the last 18 years of her life in four year cycles with each season culminating in a Paralympic appearance. When asked recently about the Olympic philosophy on the importance of taking part , not just winning, Di responded with fighting talk; she is only at the Paralympics for one thing, to win the gold medal. We wish her luck!
CS and FQ
images from http://i.dailymail.co.uk and http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ouch/2012/07/13_questions_gb_paralympic_sho.html (thanks!)